By Teddy Allen
“And the answer is: What do you call a person who has no chance of correctly answering more than three questions, tops, on any single episode of Jeopardy!?”
“What is a Jeopardy! Deadbeat?”
“Correct! The judges would have also taken ‘What is Most any Normal Person?’”
No one is in jeopardy of me beating them on Jeopardy!, four decades old and the most-watched TV game show of all-time. The questions — or answers, if you prefer — are cast-iron tough. Harder than an acre of ash.
There is every reason to watch Jeopardy! and one big reason not to. What I hear most is, “It makes me feel stupid.” Legit response. Makes me feel more stupid. I passed feeling stupid a long time ago.
But … to those using that excuse, we offer this:
Consider an attitude adjustment. I know going in I’m not the most mature apple on the tree, so when I watch, it’s with low expectations. Extremely low. Barrel-bottom low. Again, me and millions of other stupid people have made it the most popular game show ever.
That anyone can ever actually win a match, even one, is what makes the current goings-on all that more confounding. The show’s reigning champ isn’t just beating people, she’s destroying them. Sherman through Georgia. She’s the game show equivalent of football’s 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
A historic champ is Amy Schneider, a 41-year-old engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., who after Monday’s just-another-day-at-the-office rout had won 39 consecutive matches and moved into second place all-time and all by her lonesome.
She’d also pocketed $1,319,800. Hello.
She’s still way behind all-time champ Ken Jennings and his 74 straight wins. If she were chasing Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak, she’d be around 30. Lot of pitchers left to face.
That said, Schneider’s got game. Monday alone, she answered questions from the categories of, among others, Government Agencies, Bodies of Water, The Crusades, Rhythm & Blues, Roman Life & Culture — quite the varied array.
As usual, she won by $10,000 — and that was after losing $25,000 in Final Jeopardy. LOST 25 large and still won by 10.
Some of Monday’s answers/questions, with the correct response in parentheses. Good luck:
“Moses’ mom put him in an ark made of this plant?” Me: “Reeds!” (Bulrush.) Dang! I KNEW I had that one … “The mission of BLM, short for this, is ‘to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands.’” Me: “What is the Big Land Machine?” (Bureau of Land Management)
“Croatia’s border rivers, the Sava & Drava, are both tributaries of this one.” Me: “Uh ….” (The Gulf of Sidra)
“Pope Eugenius III launched the Second Crusade in 1145 with ‘Quantum Praedecessores,’ one of these documents named for its seal.” Me: “No WAY there was a whole other Crusade after the first one. No livin’ WAY!” (The Papal Bull.)
My guess would have been The Mama Bull. So close…
The show airs 4:30 weekdays on ABC. Sometimes I’ll record it and, if I’ve had a good day, I’ll watch maybe 10 minutes, just to be humbled, just to remind myself that while a contestant is winning on Jeopardy! each weekday, I barely know the difference between the Gulf of Sidra and the Gulf gas station down on the corner.
Always felt I had a fightin’-man’s chance back in the day with Match Game. The Price is Right. Even Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. But Jeopardy! is a different animal. It’s always the windshield; I’m always the bug.
Contact Teddy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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